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tv   [untitled]    February 24, 2012 9:30am-10:00am EST

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jewish -- the jewish community across the country who have been the intended targets in the past. we have just this past week convened a very large conference call with leaders of the jewish community from around the country and we remain in constant touch with them. right now we have no specific or credible threat against any organization or target in the united states. but this is certainly a situation that bears watching. >> thank you, secretary. you referenced this in your opening statement, but the changing in the grant system, which basically taking, i guess, it's 16 former programs and merging them into 1, it's a national preparedness grant program. now, in going through the budget justification documents, it appears to only mention state and territories as recipients of the funding.
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so all high threat urban areas, transit authorities, port authorities, will they be eligible to apply for the funding? >> mr. chairman, what we have put in the budget documents is our vision for how these grant programs would be consolidated and organized. we'll work with the members of the committee in terms of how you see the appropriate recipients to be. right now as envisioned, we don't envision any changes. because this is such a major alteration on how we handle grants, we'd probably need to work with the community on that. >> i would think so. again, a lot of states like california and new york, to have it just going through the state, to me it's important that we have, again, local urban areas, certainly port authorities, transit authorities, all of whom could have unique problems to their area of the state including large number of people. millions of people, perhaps. i would ask that as it goes forward that you find ways to work with all those entities. >> indeed. and to accomplish our vision we will require legislative change. so we will be working with the
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committee on that. >> also, i'm pleased to see that the secure the cities program is being fully funded again this year. as its goes forward, how do you see dhs monitoring, using in cities elsewhere in the country other than where it's just located now? >> we saw securing the cities as a -- it was a pilot program. originally in new york. what we are asking for now is, and what the budget has money for, is to add a second site to it. and i think we've -- a lot of lessons learned, good lessons learned, actually, from the experience in new york. so we can begin the process of expansion. >> going back to the point i raised before about the grant system, we were contacted by a
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number of local organizations, international association of emergency managers, national association of counties, national league of cities who are concerned that the grant funding may be too state centered. again, i would just emphasize that we are -- we've been contacted just in the last 24 houring by any of number of these groups concerned about that funding. >> it's our intent that the funding be consolidated to streamline, simplify, remove administrative costs. but we want to focus on meeting the national preparedness goal. how do we leverage resources around the country. how do we make sure there's a basic homeland security net, so to speak, building on the $35 billion of capability that the congress already has invested in. my view is that this should be primarily a risk based grant and that we ought to continue to inform grant decisions by evaluation of risk. >> again.
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just using an example here. you have myself. she had real security concerns on the northern border. we have different concerns in the long island/new york city area. both are legitimate. i don't know if the state, with all due respect to governor cuomo, if the state's fully equipped to appreciate differences between various spots of the stage. i'm just asking you to keep that in mind when you go forward. >> yes, sir. >> thank you. with that i recognize the ranking member. >> thank you, mr. chairman. as well as the other states in the united states other than new york, we -- we join you in that concern, mr. chairman. with respect to the reference the chairman made of the letter from the national association of counties, national league of cities, u.s. conference of mayors and national association of fire chiefs and others, i'd like to have it entered into the u record. >> without objection.
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>> also with respect to the theme of grants, there is some concern that these stake holders have not been included. in the process of developing guidance on the grants and the consolidation proposals. will you commit to the committee that if it has not been the best, you'll make your best effort to work with those groups? >> yes. and we have had a lot of discussions with stake holders over the last year. some of them have actually, i think, already said they support the vision. the question is going to be the details. how do we fill it out? that, again, will be something we will work on not just with the stake holder community but with the congress. >> well, and we have the record. and i will ask also that we'll provide you with a copy of the letter from the stake holders. with respect to twic, your best
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guess as to when we'll come with some guidance on the readers for the twic card. >> i think they're on the verge of the guidance for the readers. i've put some pressure to get this guidance out. as you know, the card's deadline is coming up. we want to avoid the situation to the extent we can where people are having to renew cars before the readers -- or at least guidance for the readers is out. >> well, if we get to the deadline and it's time to renew, to you see yourself extending the cars rather than having people come back and pay $133.50 -- >> i asked my staff to give me a set of options on what we can do if that were to happen, yeah. >> we have, we have a lot of communities that are poorly connected and others.
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they are hearing from a uniform number of people that they are paying the money for the cards. they're no more than just a flash card right now because there's no reader that goes with them. i would encourage you to look seriously that if the department does not meet the timeline for producing the readers, that that period be extended until the readers are in place. and the other point is, we'd like for you to look at not requiring people who apply for a twic card to come back and pick it up. that second trip for a lot of individuals costs a lot of money. some people have to take off a
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day's work to pick up the card. there are some alternatives out there. we understand the security challenges around it. but it's a concern. and we'd like for you to look at it. >> i'd be happy to. i share those concerns, and we're going to work through all available options within the department. we'll certainly keep your office informed. >> for the sake of the record, here's the -- the problem with the reader, the department or -- where has the breakdown been for the last four-plus years? >> i -- you know, it's -- it's hard to say where, in fact. there have been a lot of just operational issues with some of the test readers. with respect to their viability and their ruggedness and the likes. there's been just things tested that haven't played out. so it's been a real process to finally arrive at something that will be good guidance.
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>> so your testimony is you're close. >> that's my understanding, yes. >> mr. chairman, i would love to get something back from the secretary as to her best guess as to when we can expect something from the department. >> we can make that a joint request to the secretary right now. >> i'll be happy to get something back to you. >> i yield back. >> thank you, gentleman, for yielding. ms. hochul, i'd want to site mr. higgins from western new york. you're just in my line of vision there. how can we ignore brian higgins. in any event -- >> we've got another new york er here too. >> even if we don't always agree with the -- >> mr. rogers? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to offer for the record
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a letter a the was delivered yesterday. if there's no objection. thank you madam secretary for being here. thank you for your service to our country. i know yours is not a 40 hour a week job. we appreciate your service. i want to talk to you about secure communities and 287-g. now, my understanding from looking at the budget -- or the memo on the budget is that the 2 87-g program was reduced by 25% which has basically halted any additional training of additional communities going forward. is that correct? >> for task forces, yes. we are moving to a -- we began this migration last year, but we're really moving toward, as we install secure communities throughout the country, that's really the preferred way to
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identify those in the country illegally and get them removed. >> i agree the security communities is a great way. but 287-g program has been just an outstanding force multiplier, relatively inexpensive, too. i hate to see no additional communities be added. >> if i might, representative? >> certainly. >> in terms of task forces we're actually going to discontinue some because there we have task forces in the country that over the last one or two years have picked up maybe one or two illegals. so when we actually calculate out the average cost of removing somebody who's been picked up by 287-g task force versus, say, secure comments. 287-g pen similars out to be about ten times expensive per alien. there is a cost, correct. >> that's interesting. talk about security communities. my understanding is that we were -- not my understanding. i know we were told in alabama that the remaining 27 -- or 37
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counties, there's been 30 so far that have had the security communities established. the remaining 37 counties were to have it installed by november of last year. then i was told backed up to december of this year. now i've been told it's stopped. is that the case? >> it has been delayed, that is correct. >> why? >> several reasons. but one reason is that, as you know, alabama state law is in litigation. it's at the 11th circuit. u the schedule for oral argument is coming right up. we left the program in place where it was turned on. where it's turned on covers 75% of the foreign born population in alabama. but given the pendency of the litigation we decided to just hold off on the remaining quarter. i will say, however, that it is our intent to finish completion
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of secure communities by the end of this year. >> why is it relevant? you haven't hawked it in arizona or georgia. they have similar legislation at the state level. >> i think in those jurisdictions for already turned on before the litigation commenced. we left it at their status quo as well. >> okay. talk about procurement. i've had a lot of business groups come into my -- not only my hearings that we've been looking at procurement, but coming in, we've had kind of open sessions off the record where different groups that interact with the department come in and talk about their experience. uniformly i hear, across industries, how difficult it is to work with dhs when it comes to procurement acquisitions. mainly they're saying there's never really any intersection before an rfp. oftentimes that creates a -- are
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you familiar with the problem and the concerns that the private sector has and what, if anything, are you doing about it. >> yes. i think probably some of the same people have visited with me as well. a couple of things. one is i've directed the undersecretary for management to take on procurement. we need to centralize it more within the department. one of the problems has been, as a new department from a lot of different legacy agencies, we had different procurement systems and rules and people are used to dealing with a difficult category of vendors. so we've taken steps to centralize to have an acquisition or approval process for acquisitions that are large and then to reach out to the private sector. we just held, an ex -- for example, kind of an improvement fair. for lack of a better term to
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improve those channels of communication that we need. representative, we're on it. >> great. thank you. i see my time's expired. thank you, ma'am. i yield back. >> chairman yields back. gentle lady from california, ms. sanchez, is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, madam secretary for being before us today. i have two questions for you. the first is that i recently was in the calexico/mexican border. and from the mexican side they have poured cement. they have built new roadways to come over to make another land port, if you will, that i think was, from my understanding, was agreed to by both sides and somehow or another the funding has not come or the cuts in the budget are not making this new
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land port happen from our side, which is just amazing to see it happening on the other end and nothing from our end. the first thing would be, the locals had asked me to come and take a look at it. obviously, the council people and the county supervisor. so what's going on with that and what can we do because they tell me that it's about three hours standing time if you're a pedestrian to go across that section right now. and i happen to know because i have family in mexicali, so i asked them. what to you think? they said it's taken way too long. two, three hours. sometimes in the summer it's hours out there with no cover. so what are we doing in respect to that? the second question i have for you, madam, is that this january the media reported that two
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tourists were denied entry to the united states by cbp because of comments they had posted on twitter. so do you know anything about this incident? is it a cbp practice to see what foreign nationals are putting on social media and is that determining their admittance to the u.s. >> with respect to the port question, i can look specifically into mexicali. the southern border ports are budgeted through the gsa, not dhs. and the gsa budget has not faired well in the congress. that has slowed down a number of important projects including land ports along the southwest border, which are necessary for travel and trade. all the things that go on in that border area. i think that's probably where it's caught up. with respect to the two tourists -- >> madam, how could we -- what's the mechanism if they're
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necessary and if your department deems them necessary, to get this moving? >> the question is trying to do everything we need to do within the confines of the budget control act. we're all dealing with that as a fiscal reality. we need to reduce the deficit. we all recognize that as well. because gsa is governed by a different set of committees and different appropriations process, it does become a little bit two ships passing in the night. we are in constant touch with gsa working with them. they know the priorities. but they only have so much money. >> thank you. then the question of the foreign nationals from england. >> without getting too much in the weeds, we aren't sitting there monitoring social media looking for stuff. that's not what we do. in that instance, there was a tip. and the tip led to a secondary inspection of the individuals.
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and that governed the judgment of exclusion, not just the twitter, or tweet. >> so was -- but was the tweet taken into account as your department was thinking of whether to let these people in or not? >> well, it was. but i'm really not at liberty to say all of the reasons. but i think the impression was left that cbp's just sitting around, you know, wandering the blogesphere looking for things. that is not what cbp does. they do, however, when they receive a specific tip, have an obligation to follow it up. >> thank you, madam chair. i'll yield back. >> gentleman from texas and chairman of the subcommittee and oversight investigation, mr. mccaul. >> madam secretary, thank you for being here today, thank you for your service. i think it's important to note
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that today marks the one-year anniversary of the brutal the anniversary of a brutal killing of two agents and i think it's appropriate to remember that event and to remember them here today in this committee. madam secretary, there's speculation that the weapons used to kill the agents may have been linked to the operation fast and furious. do you have any information that would indicate there's a connection there? >> i have no information of that effect, no. i don't know one way or the other. >> so you cannot say -- it's possible is what you are say something. >> i just don't know one way or the other. >> so you cannot say one way or the other whether there's a link to these weapons in fast and furious? >> that is true. >> okay, we know that the
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weapons were used to kill border patrol agent brian terry, correct? >> they were found at the scene of that murder. >> the other question that i have, i know that the organize -- ocedtf, had an i.c.e. agent participating on that task force was participate engine fast and furious. can you tell us what the role of what that i.c.e. agent was with respect to to fast and furious? >> my understanding is that it was very minimal. this is all learned after the fact. this was an atf operation, operated under the auspices of ocdef, but it was an otf operation. >> do you think they misplead
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the agent? >> i hope not. >> do you think he was informed about the operation? >> i do not. and i don't know whether the full extent and the number of guns being able to walk unsupervised into mexico was disclosed. i believe that the size and management of that operation was -- that lots of serious mistakes and should never be repeated. >> and i certainly agree with you. i i would like to follow-up with more on that with you in the future t next question i have is more along the lines of management and budget. we had hearings on, we heard from several under secretaries, within dhs that one particular talked about, and you and i talk bd this previously. the idea of the d.o.d model and have you a book on this, i was impressed to hear.
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there's lessons learn friday other events in the past in the federal government, and there may be a lot to learn from the growing pains and mistakes and lessons learned in the department of defense had in consolidating their efforts as you are trying organize 22 different organizations. they found there were various high risk operations that i think were in their words had performance problems. and i think as you testified earlier to mr. rodgers, question the idea of centalizing procurement, i was glad to hear the progress made in that direction. can you tell me what your thoughts are in terms of looking at that model and trying to apply it to the department of homeland security? >> yes. in fact, i do have is a volume on goldwater nichols on my desk which shows you what secretaries
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of security read in their spare time. it took about 40 years between the creation of the department of defense and the management that goldwater-nichols represented. we will beat that target. we will take lessons learned in the department, not everything done in the department applies in the dhs context and in many ways we have a much broader set of missions that we have to perform. but things like acquisition review, particularly for large purchases, how you manage procurement in general. things like looking at how you buy, you know, software. how you buy vehicles. designing common frames for aircraft that can be used by coast guard -- >> you have five seconds -- i want to mention at the hearing out of all the departments you get 50% of the funding for dhs,
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that was an important point that i was not aware of and perhaps we can change that as well. >> that is for the congress. but i'll say, those are the kinds of efficiencies that we can, i think, encourage and grow at dhs. >> thank you, madam. >> gentlemen yields back, the gentlemen from texas is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, madam secretary, it's good to see you again, and i believe you are going to my district next week and i'll be in the same area you'll be at so i hope to see you there. thank you, and dealing with the budget is always hard. thank you for looking at the duplicate programs and making your department more efficient. i have my first question, a reported that came out on march 2011 talks about an unobligated
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balance that came out of the country exceptions, and it's been going on since 2008. there's authorization, there's no authorization. bottom line is that is a lot of money that is available if we can use it for border, because that came in from the trade issues. what is the status on trying to get that? why can't we get that money out especially in these tight money times? >> i don't know sitting here. i don't know whether it's a statutory problem or we are holding it for a particular reason. but i'll be happy to get back to you on that. >> yes, because i think g.o said you can use it by law. but get back to the kbhcommitten that.
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the budget does not look dpor more borders s os o s os of of local folks are saying that there's not enough customs border protection. i said we do a good job with the men and women in green, but we need them to get our customs folks. whether it's sea ports or land port on that. and especially also since you are cutting c bp overtime by $20 million, how are we going to handle that, those lines that we have and i think that is an issue that will be brought up to you when you go down there to the border. >> yes, in fact, that is one of the reasons i'm going back to the bored is to talk with people who live there about problems they see -- the problem with the lines is two fold.
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it can be a manpower problem and another is the lane availability issue. we have to work on both things. the overtime pay issue, the congress dealt with that last year by allowing us to use the leap system among other things. that will enable us to manage the overtime situation and keep it under control better and secondly, we have in the budget, the president has annualized additional port officers that were put in in fy '12 and so that should be taking effect. >> you do a $9.1 million increase on the bridges. you know, i have more bridges than any other congressman in the country, so bridges are very important to me.
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i would look forward to working with you and looking at alternatives as we go up there. the private sector and local governments are willing to do that and to do a bridge is one perfect example, where they want to step up and do that where they want to put in some of the local income, so i ask you to work with us on that issue. finally the last thing on overtime. there was a report that came out, an analysis that shows in the last 6 years we had a $1.4 million in daily over time p especially since we have the lowest border crossings in the last four years. and i understand the whole argument, you never know when they have to travel to one part. but it included your 250 agents assigned at the border patrol headquarte headquarters, i understand the border patrol at the border.

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